The story of this debut album by Norwich old school thrashers Killer Hurts is a long and convoluted one… but one which also deserves to be told, as it is pretty much indicative of how the grassroots metal scene works and how those involved within its deepest machinations manage to triumph against often seemingly insurmountable odds through sheer determination and belief in what they do and what they stand for…
However, before we start this story, it is perhaps important to declare an interest, of sorts… Myself and the Dark Queen met band progenitor Errol Watson a little while back at Bloodstock: it was our first visit to PM’s favourite festival and we were staying in nearby Tamworth wondering how much the local taxi companies were going to screw us over for the 15 minute journey to and from the site, when we bumped into Errol at the breakfast buffet… for the next three days, he kindly ferried us to and from the festival site, and we swapped stories about our various experiences in the metal business. He introduced us to loads of musos, and we ended up with a rucksack full of CDs – as well as a promise to keep in touch.
Does all of this necessarily mean that we are going to give the dude’s album a good review? Of course it fucking doesn’t… the music business is a cut throat one and PM is a site that prides itself on its integrity, and just because you’re nice to us doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to return the favour. But, before you find out if we’re going to “rate it or slate it”, we have to return to our main narrative…
Killer Hurts trace their roots back to 2006 – with this album representing, as Watson describes it, a catalogue of his favourite songs the band have written and played over the intervening eight years. The recording of the album actually began back in May 2012, but the results of the initial sessions were scrapped and the band started all over again at Watson’s own Plug Studios: more problems followed and, by March 2013, Watson found himself on his own – but determined to carry on… so, with gig commitments and a half finished recording project he teamed up with members of another East Anglian outfit, Shrapnel. Anyway, to cut a long(ish) story short(ish), finally the album, featuring a combination of contributions from original band members, temporary stand ins and new full timers, has been completed and submitted to the world for its approval (or otherwise).
The result is an extremely competent, if not exactly groundbreakingly original, thrash album which ticks all the right boxes. It very much reflects Errol’s own professed personal influences – Slayer, Exodus, early Metallica and “everything NWOBHM” – and does so with both proficiency and obvious passion. The most obvious influences, to be honest, are that of Metallica – the chorus of ‘You Have Have Been Warned’ borrows heavily from ‘Disposable Heroes’ – and Slayer, especially on the likes of ‘Beware Of The Fog’ and ‘Megaladon’, while there are also elements of Megaduff and Testament to the overall sound: in fact, the album sounds like it would have been very much at home among the majority of the more high profile BayArea output of the late Eighties – but there’s nothing wrong with that! Whereas many bands are content to merely rip off their idols and regurgitate their riffs (and even solos), Killer Hurts pay homage to what has gone before with obvious affection and respect.
The performances are accomplished, and Watson’s vocals, while at times a bit lost in his own production, have the right mix of snarl and spit to convince even the most diehard of old school thrash heads of his commitment to keeping the genre’s flag flying high and proud. As Watson says, “it doesn’t profess to be groundbreaking, just a collection of catchy riffs and choruses”. To be brutally honest, at the end of the day, I can’t argue with that.
Rise Abomination / Into The Breach / Blunt Force Trauma / The Dead Are Comin’ / Violence Is Golden / You Have Been Warned / It Has All Gone DArk / Beware Of The Fog / Megaladon / Unleash The Chemicals / Ready Aim Fire / Bloodlust / Toxic Bloodbath
Recommended listening: Violence Is Golden
Live photograph taken from the band’s Facebook page.